PLATTSBURGH — Education, specifically a focus on math and science, will help students prepare for a growth in green-technology jobs.
That was one of the conclusions when the North Country Workforce Investment Board unveiled its Green Collar Jobs Initiative Monday morning.
Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Paul Grasso said the report is the beginning of an ongoing focus on how the growth of green jobs will impact the North Country.
He said that what the Workforce Investment Board has heard about the green-job workforce is what it hears about any job.
"It's about the quality of the person who comes through the door," Grasso said.
That makes it important for students to develop skills — in this case a focus on math and science skills — from the time they start school.
CITEC President and CEO Bill Murray said the report was put together with input from sectors such as manufacturing, education, health care, energy generation, government, tourism, transportation, construction, agriculture, telecommunications and consulting/engineering services.
He reiterated the need for students to focus on math and science skills to prepare for green jobs.
"No smoking gun came out of this report," he said.
Workforce Investment Board Chair John Van Natten said the 21st century is the time to build an inclusive green economy that benefits neighborhoods, working families and the planet.
"You can think about a green-collar job as a blue-collar job that's been upgraded, or up-skilled, to better respect the environment."
He said the Workforce Investment Board will use the report to develop education and job-training programs that improve social equity and provide pathways out of poverty for our residents while strengthening the middle class by equipping workers for high-demand jobs in the green economy.
"I think we're once again getting ahead a lot of other areas with this report," Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said.
He said the report provided strong acknowledgement that the region is already in the green business because of its mass-transportation sector and the future of aerospace development at Plattsburgh International Airport, he said.
Douglas said the report also shows the possibility of making existing jobs more environmentally friendly. The region can bring new practices and new thinking to the jobs that are already here.
Clinton Community College Director of Continuing Education Peter Grosskopf said some of the green jobs identified in the report align with programs being introduced at CCC, such as its environmental technology program.
"I think that's an affirmation the decisions we made are right on track," he said.
Dr. Cheryl Reagan, CCC vice president for academic affairs, said the college's electrical technology program can help students develop skills they need for employment in many of those green sectors.
They will benefit from interaction with college faculty with knowledge of wind, solar and geothermal energy and systems.
FUNDED BY GRANT
The chamber funded the report with some of the $1.5 million in grant funding it has received from the U.S. Department of Labor during the last three years for its Aerospace, Transportation Equipment and Green Tech Workforce Strategy.
It was a joint effort of CITEC, the Workforce Investment Board and the Technical Assistance Center at Plattsburgh State.
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